SPRING BALL DAY 10: Back and forth

CORVALLIS--The aftereffects of Oregon State's scrimmage on Friday seemed to include fatigue and lack of concentration on Monday afternoon. There were a slew of miscues on offense, the defense seemed to display an uneven, less than stellar performance for a good portion of the session and o-line coach Mike Cavanaugh, judging by his comments and the volume they were delivered with, was not pleased.

All in all, the result was a long, hot day for the Beavers.

If there was a harbinger of things to come on Monday, it came on the first snap of offensive skeleton drills for the second team. Redshirt freshman quarterback Ryan Katz fumbled that first snap out of the gate, demanding a re-do from head coach Mike Riley.

The usual suspects headed up the first string offense, with junior wideout Aaron Nichols rotating in and out with the ones. Whether he has impressed the Oregon State coaching staff enough to push for starting minutes remains to be seen, but spring practices are all about trying things, and it's safe to say that juniors Darrell Catchings and James Rodgers' starting spots are safe.

Speaking of Catchings, he was yet again one of the more favored targets of senior quarterback Sean Canfield throughout practice. The reception that likely stuck out the most among fans and teammates alike on Monday came during the first skelly.

Canfield dropped back to pass, spotted Catchings deep downfield and delivered a bomb to the receiver. Catchings got last second separation from junior cornerback James Dockery to make the grab. The junior wideout was able to beat Dockery again later in practice, taking in a Canfield pass across the middle in the flats. Canfield delivered the ball in front of the defender, catching the receiver mid-stride to make the connection.

But several other Canfield passes were either dropped, the receivers botched routes, or the balls were otherwise off target, making it a long day for the first string offense.

During "red ball" drills, the senior quarterback was targeting junior slotback Casey Kjos, but junior safety Suaesi Tuimaunei was there to break up the pass. On the subsequent play, Canfield again looking for Kjos but the pass was off the mark -- sophomore safety Lance Mitchell was there to nearly make the interception, but the ball bounced off his chest and fell to the ground.

Senior cornerback Tim Clark was also able to disrupt a few of Canfield's pass attempts, mostly coming during the "red ball" drills.

THE SCRIMMAGE THIS past Friday was a bad day for everyone in the Beaver secondary, but Tuimaunei has started to come into his own this spring. Tui on Monday was able to break up potential Canfield connections to senior wideout Damola Adeniji and redshirt freshman Jordan Bishop.

Add the fact that the safety makes an appearance on special teams and his value increases -- he has the size and physicality to lay a hurt on teams as a gunner.

Katz got in some snaps with the first team offense on Monday afternoon, and completed a good amount of passes to Oregon State receivers.

During skelly drills, Katz was able to roll out, spot Catchings downfield and deliver a perfectly placed ball, with Catchings beating Clark deep to make the reception.

Freshman running back Jovan Stevenson was another Beaver who got turns with the first string. During the last installation of scrimmage, Stevenson took a Katz screen pas s and juked his way through defenders.

While applause for his cutting ability and agility might be expected, Riley reminded the young running back to "follow (his) blocks."

Guard Michael Lamb is probably out for the rest of spring but his knee injury does not appear serious. Defensive tackle Brennan Olander (foot) and cornerback Patrick Henderson (ankle) are both "short term deals", said Riley. Henderson and Brandon Hardin (quadriceps) each returned to practice Monday but were limited in their participation.

The status of redshirt freshman Kaulin Krebs (knee) is yet to be determined. Krebs has not yet had an MRI and remains day-to-day.

Junior kicker Justin Kahut returned to practice Monday afternoon, after sitting out on Friday due to an ailing hip.

Riley on what he saw from the scrimmage film:
"I was pleased with the amount of football that was played, and I think (this is what I told the team) that everybody can learn where we have to go. There was some good production and we like that, and now we just build on those things, and take it up another notch."

Center Alex Linnenkohl on keys to offensive line:
"In Cav's groups, the key is always having somebody step up. Every year you look at it there is always one person that came through, whether it was because of an opening or an injury and so far they have. I think that if somebody can step up, which we are working on, guys have to learn, it is a long process. You can't build a bridge overnight."

Linnenkohl on who will step up:
"I think it is hard to say at this point. I think we have guys moving around, but I like Colin Kelly, the redshirt freshman -- he is playing some good ball. He's working at it and that is what you like to see. Timi is an older guy, he's strong and he is really picking it up right now and doing a good job."

Linnenkohl on Coach Cavanaugh's "in your face" approach:
"I love it. I think that it really works wonders on everybody. Some guys sometimes can't handle it, but he keeps at it, he is not going to let up. Personally, I really think you can feel the love that Coach Cav conveys through the toughness. If you see him outside of the facilities then he is like the nicest guy. He has a style he coaches, but he speaks from the heart."

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